The Search Terms Your Practice Website Should Be Targeting
Bryan Cush, President of Tidal Wave Marketing, discusses the search terms & keyword phrases your practice website may be missing out on. He discusses how to optimize your doctor or practice website for the types of keywords that patients are actively searching for.
Let’s Look At The Types of Medical Search Terms Your Practice Website May Be Missing Out On.
The typical website for a doctor or medical clinic has a few standard pages: who the doctor is, the procedures offered, the office’s location(s), and how to book an appointment. But many practice websites fail to include content that millions of users are searching for.
ThinkWith Google reported on a study of the hundreds of millions of healthcare queries that are searched each year. Of the terms being searched for, 10% were branded (meaning a specific doctors name, hospital, or clinic — these are people already in the final stages of their research). Treatments or procedures accounted for only 6% of searches.
So what about the other 84% of healthcare queries? This is exactly where your websites content should be focused. These searches are split between two categories:
- Conditions / Diseases, accounting for nearly half at 49%.
- Symptoms / Departments, which made up more than a third of all queries at 35%.
For those websites focusing heavily on the procedures they offer, there is a huge percentage of healthcare search traffic you’re missing out on. The symptoms, conditions and diseases you treat should be thoroughly explained on your website.
Optimize For Actual Users, Not Search Engines
Not only does this provide a better user experience for your patients, but it represents your authority as an expert in the field. And when you provide quality content that people share, link to, and quote, it ranks higher in search engines.
Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and look at things from a patient’s thought pattern. Create identifiable pathways to health for the symptoms, conditions and / or diseases you treat. Explain how the procedure will cure or treat the patient’s condition or disease. By bringing it full circle, it optimizes the patient’s user experience (UX) because they leave more knowledgeable about their condition, and more acquainted with your services.
A simple example of this thought process can be applied to anything. Take functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). This specific procedure fits into the minority that is searching in the procedures part of the pie. But where should you shift your focus?
ThinkWith Google also has another great piece of content: Customers Need Answers. It talks about answering those condition, disease and symptom questions that comprise the majority of online healthcare queries.
Which Specific Healthcare Questions Should You Be Answering?
There are a few methods to start researching into the health based questions that apply to you. First is to brainstorm with your practice. Speak with your staff and those involved that are not medically trained. They will be more apt to provide layman terms associated to your specialty.
The next and probably most effective way would be to dig into the data you are capturing online already. This is only helpful if you already have an established online presence. Looking at the actual search queries people are typing through your Adwords, Bing and other webmaster & analytics accounts will give you an incredible insight into how patients are coming across your site. Also, dig into your top pages and see which queries are causing those pages to rank for you.
After you have audited all the online data you have been collecting you should have a large pool of content ideas. The top queries should be built into creating new, useful content on your site. It could be in the forms of articles, videos, info-graphics, photo tagging and more.
Open A Dialogue With Patients For Actionable Insights
If you are still lacking in the ideas, start surveying your patients. You may already be asking them how they found you. Which usually is only responded by a succinct, “online” or “from a friend.” But what you should be doing is digging in one step further with your questions.
Ask them what they were experiencing that ended up bringing them to your office. Coming back to your FESS example from earlier you should be coming across terms like sinus pain, chronic sinus infections, recurring sinus infections, sinus inflammation and more much. Semantic questions should be formed from these topics and built out into content that directly answers those questions.
When you are able to build out and define all the conditions, diseases and symptoms that are associated to you and your specialty you will be ready to tap into the 84% of patients already researching in that way.